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Old 03-17-2004, 07:58 AM   #1
Bob H.
Dojo: Mid-Coast Aikido Club
Location: New England, USA
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 7
Offline
Aikido and carpal tunnel syndrome

Hello, all.

I want to pass something by fellow aikidoka- I was thinking the other day that somebody who practices aikido (and, probably other arts that work the wrist) would be less likely to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome/repetitive stress injuries, due to the stretching the wrist gets in various directions at various angles.

Can any of the members here comment on that? Do you know an aikidoka who has experienced CTS/RSI? Or, not?

I realize this won't be considered a scientific study, so I don't expect to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine... just something I am wondering based on my observations.

Thanks!

Bob
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Old 03-17-2004, 10:08 AM   #2
kung fu hamster
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 166
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I was able to 'fix' that problem with aikido, I used to work in a legal office doing secretarial typing and by the time I started aikido my wrists were so bad that I could not hold a pan of water without it tipping and spilling everything on the floor, also I couldn't grip a doorknob, I had to use both hands to cup the doorknob and turn it that way. I was really worried because I had little control over my hands or ability to do simple everyday tasks. Within a year of starting aikido these problems pretty much went away. My chiropractor also says that carpal tunnel is easy to fix (without surgery), so maybe people just need to explore these sorts of alternatives.
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Old 03-17-2004, 10:23 AM   #3
John Tjia
Dojo: White Plains Aikido of Westchester
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 11
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Aikido seems to help

I had bad enough tendinitis in the upper arm (epicondilytis or "tennis elbow") that I had to wear a brace in the wrist for working at the computer. But after starting aikido practice about 5 months ago, I find I can now work all day without a brace. My right wrist is still a little tender in certain positions (as when I press my right palm into the small of my back) but for "normal" positions during the day and for aikido workouts, my wrists are fine.
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Old 03-17-2004, 11:28 AM   #4
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
United_States
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I work with computers, and have occationally had to do a substantial amount of data entry. I experienced a bout with extreme tendonitus bording on CT. I got so bad that when some grabbed my wrist for an aikido technique I wanted to sink through the floor. Massage therapy over a period of about six months fixed it, and workman's comp paid for it. I did continue to train in aikido, but backed way off on some things (like suburi for instance). Now everything is pretty much fine, and has been for some time.

Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 03-17-2004, 12:20 PM   #5
jxa127
Dojo: Itten Dojo -- Mechanicsburg, PA
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 420
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Hi Bob,

I've got CT syndrome in both wrists and, like the folks above, found that aikido has helped me a lot.

I've been training for a bit over four years now, but I noticed improvement within a year.

I can give you more details if you have specific questions.

Regards,

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 03-17-2004, 12:42 PM   #6
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
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Carpal tunnel syndrome is a narrowing of the canal where the median nerve passes. Included in the canal is several tendons which compete for space. Narrowing of this canal causes compression on the median nerve. The transverse carpal ligament covers part of the canal and can cause problems if too tight. Stretching, deep tissue work (such as Graston technique), myofascial release and exercise can sometimes relieve mild to moderate CTS. My experience with more severe CTS is that it is not responsive to conservative means.

I have CTS in both wrists (chiropractor) and I do not find aikido makes it any worse or any better. I generally use Graston technique (instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization) to work on the scar tissue and adhesions and this seems to help.

Pronator teres syndrome can sometimes mimic carpal tunnel and is sometimes misdiagnosed as CTS. This is entrapment of the median nerve in the forearm under the pronator teres muscle. This can often be treated conservatively with good results.
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Old 03-17-2004, 01:14 PM   #7
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
United_States
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Hi John,

Pronator teres syndrome...can this cause pain radiating throughout the hand and fingers when someone grabs your wrist? If so, it sounds like what I had, so that might explain why the conservative method worked with me.

Thanks,

Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 03-17-2004, 02:01 PM   #8
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
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Hi Ron. I imagine it depends on where you are grabbed.

If you hold your hand palm up and take the big muscle on the thumb side as your reference and go to the inside and just below the crook of the elbow you will find the pronator teres. It has two heads. The humeral head attaches to the medial epicondyle (golfer's elbow) and the ulnar head attaches to the ulna. The median nerve enters the forearm between these two heads. Movements of the forearm are likely to cause the symptoms so I don't know if just grabbing the wrsit would. This might actually be causing the carpal tunnel to compress. The palmaris longus muscle has been also implicated in mimicing CTS (see Travell).

The wrist and forearm are particularly at risk with aikidoka since we do techniques which compress these areas.
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Old 03-18-2004, 12:37 PM   #9
Jeff Sodeman
Dojo: San Diego Jiai Aikido
Location: San Diego
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 76
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I also have CTS in one hand, and aikido is one of the things that doesn't bother it at all. I can't say yet if it makes it better.

On a side note though, I have noticed that when I've had shin splint problems from running that aikido has helped a lot. Particularly sitting in seiza.

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